Auggie Pullman knows he's different. He was born with a severe facial deformity and has spent his entire life dealing with people's reaction to his appearance. Due to the large number of surgeries and health issues he experienced as a young child, Auggie has always been homeschooled - until his parents decide that 5th grade would be the perfect year for him to go to a real school and interact with real kids.
And that is where the main conflict of this story begins.
What is so extraordinary about Wonder is that there are many different points of view to explore and discuss. Auggie is never explicitly bullied at school, but he experiences a great deal of unkind treatment from classmates. But there are also the behaviors of his classmates and family members that kids can discuss and empathize with. This is a novel that shows kids there are no simple answers in life.
I'm sure this phrase has already become cliche even though the book
has only been out for a couple weeks now but Wonder is a wonder of a
book. It's something you read that will stay with you for a long time. Auggie is one of the most lovable, empathetic characters I've ever encountered in my reading life. There's a scene in the book where Auggie's father hugs him and tells him how much he loves his face, and that very scene made me long to do the same thing for him. I loved Auggie in that moment in the same way his parents did.
If I had one criticism of the book it's that the ending was a little too perfect for real life, but at the same time, it was absolutely necessary for readers to feel satisfied that karma finally showed some kindness to Auggie. You can't leave readers feeling like the hand Auggie had been dealt was still rearing its ugly head.
If you're a middle grade teacher searching for your next great read-aloud, I can't recommend Wonder enough.
Check out an interview with the author on her website along with some cool annotations about content in the book.
Also, take a gander at the awesome book trailer
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Published: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: Review copy received through NetGalley